At least 31,000 electricity consumers not on YAKA - Umeme

Some of the Yaka meters on Biasara  Building in Jinja City PHOTO BY TAUSI NAKATO...

What you need to know:

Umeme started installing prepay meters in 2011, after a one-year pilot study in parts of Kampala showed homeowners prefer it to post-paid billing.

At least 31,000 out of 1.8 million Umeme customers are not connected to YAKA, a new prepaid electricity metering system.

Umeme started installing prepay meters in 2011, after a one-year pilot study in parts of Kampala showed homeowners prefer it to post-paid billing.

Accordingly, every customer is expected to pay service fee and VAT per month, plus the additional first 15 units at the first purchase of the month.

Mr Stephen Illungole, the Manager Public Relations and Communication of Umeme, however, says the figure is down from 200,000 households still using post-paid electricity meters to prepayment billing system in 2020.

“This is great progress. It means no customer will be on the post-paid billing system in the near future,” he said in an interview at the weekend.

Mr Illungole says through the introduction of prepaid metering, improvements in quality of service and open platforms for electricity bills payments, the company achieved an average revenue collection rate of 99 percent over the past many years.

Collection of revenues, he says, is critical for the cash flow needs of the entire electricity supply industry as it ensures that cash flows up throughout the entire electricity supply chain.

“Umeme pays billions of shillings to the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company (UETCL) for electricity purchases and continues to focus on improving efficiencies that benefit our customers in the form of reducing energy losses, increasing revenue collections and reducing operating costs,” he added.


Mr Illungole says the prepaid system is more efficient and reliable, unlike the old system where customers could even use power for months before paying.

He says: “With YAKA, less debts are accumulated by the customers, which has helped Umeme boost revenue collections that are vital in sustaining the whole energy industry, and has also helped the utility recover billions of shillings in debt arrears.”

Mr John Patrick Ndabe, a resident of Jinja City, says YAKA is affordable for even the low income earners.

“Those who only use it for lighting can spend Sh20,000 for some good months. Affordability of electricity has increased to even the low income earners compared to the previous system of paying for electricity,’’ he said.

Mr James Lukwago, another YAKA user, says the new system is the “best” because it “doesn’t put you under pressure” as you only consume what you have put.

Ms Joan Nairuba, another user, says with YAKA, one can time themselves because the system is like using airtime.

Umeme, the largest energy distributor in the country (about 97 percent of all electricity used), on December 5, confirmed its Ugandan exit in March 2025 after the end of its 20-year concession.